Tito’s Sleight of Hand
The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, is considered to be in the “pragmatic” faction of the ANC. Along with the President and a few others, the “pragmatic” faction is billed as the “reformers” of the party. Their objective is to reform South Africa into an investment-friendly destination, uphold the rule of law and eliminate corruption. Well, that’s the theory of course.
However, I am not convinced that the “factions” in the ANC are as clear cut as we are lead to believe.
For a supposed reformer, the president has vocally expressed great admiration for expropriation without compensation, the National Health Insurance and using pension funds to bail out state-owned enterprises. These positions are not reformists in nature. They are nothing more than left populism at best.
Whereas Mr Mboweni has expressed dismay at the BEE codes for relief funds and has agitated for the sale of underperforming SOEs, he has done very little to act in a way that shows his intentions. Other than a Treasury document that expressed basic economic reforms, his Budget speeches have been woeful. He has bailed out SOEs and expanded the budget deficit considerably, hardly the work of a reformer.
Mboweni is in the news for saying that he isn’t a free man anymore. He is upset that the ANC prefers “collective decisions” which prevent reforms from being implemented. So far, the public appears to swallow this line: Mboweni and Ramaphosa want reforms but they are prevented from doing so by the “factions” of the ANC. This tussle between the “state capture faction” and the “reform faction” ensure a stalemate.
This is complete bunk.
There are no reformers in the ANC at all.
Ramaphosa has done the following:
- Increased minimum wage ( taking unskilled people out of the economy).
- Promoted investment eroding policies like expropriation without compensation.
- Promoted various hard-left communists to his Cabinet like Ebrahim Patel, Pravin Gordhan and Thulas Nxesi.
- A nationwide lockdown that has destroyed thousands of businesses and shuttered hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- Deployed 70 000 soldiers to enforce arbitrary regulations that are completely irrational.
- Arrested tens of thousands of people who have not adhered to the arbitrary regulations.
- Imposed a curfew that has no basis in law.
If those things are considered to be reforms, we have a societal comprehension problem on our hands. It would help if the commentariat who supported Ramaphoria would explain why reform looks like, but they haven’t.
If Mboweni and Ramaphosa are the reformers in the party, there are no reformers in the party. Both “factions” want the same thing, the National Democratic Revolution. Ramaphosa and Mboweni have slicker PR. That’s it.
Believe it or not, South Africa can exist without the ANC. It has been a wealth-destroying liberation movement that believes communism is viable and white South Africans are oppressors. There is not one democratic bone in the entire fossil.
Do not get distracted by the good cop, bad cop sleight of hand. Everyone believes in the same God, the ANC.